This complete guide will help you to understand more about PUWER, the safety regulations and compliance in the workplace. Use the links below to explore the guide along with the Glossary which explains popular technical terms used. If you are in need of advice feel free to call us on 01933 681255 or email [email protected]
What Is PUWER?
PUWER is an abbreviated word standing for Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
The PUWER regulation aims to ensure the safety of people as well as companies operating, maintaining and having control over their equipment and machinery used in their workplaces. This regulation holds responsibility on organisations and businesses’ employees who use work equipment whether it is owned by them or not. It is important for the business as well as the people who work under the company to know about this regulation and to expand their awareness of any new existing version of this regulation as well as to be wary of linked regulations to PUWER.
How do I know if this regulation applies to me?
- If you are an employer or self-employed and provide equipment at work
- If you supervise or even manage the use of the equipment
- PUWER is an active regulation as long as the Health and Safety at Work Act is in effect
- The regulation covers people using equipment whilst working from home
- It does not apply to those who are a seller of the equipment but mainly the end user is held responsible and it applies to them
- It does not apply to those in domestic work, private households or in public domain e.g. compressed air equipment in Petrol Stations
Whether it is exclusively used in work or not, equipment is any type of machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or installation for use at work. This includes equipment employees bring to work, providing for their own use.
The term ‘work’ just means any activity involving with anything technology based like; starting, stopping, programming, setting, transporting, repairing, modifying, maintaining, servicing and cleaning. Toolbox tools are also included, such as; hammers and handsaws. However, things which are not covered and that would not be classed as an equipment are livestock, substances, and structural items. Generally, any equipment which is used by an employee is covered by PUWER.
PUWER requires all equipment that is used in the workplace to be adapted or constructed so it does not pose unacceptable risks to people’s health and safety. Risk assessments are always carried out on these machines to ensure a better working environment.
Although PUWER covers most things, there will also be other legislation which come in play that add to the legal coverage in addition to Work Equipment Regulations. An example of this is that lifting equipment’s must also meet requirements of LOLER.Pressure equipment must meet the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations and personal protective equipment must meet the PPE Regulations.
PUWER has demands on provided equipment at work as follows:
- Making sure of the suitability of its intended use.
- That it is assured safe to use, and maintained in a safe condition.
- Inspected at suitable intervals to ensure it is correctly installed and it does not subsequently deteriorate.
- When in use, that it is only used according to the specific conditions that it is suited to.
- Health and Safety measures are used, like protective devices and controls, clear visible markings, warning devices, including a means of isolation from sources of energy.
- It is only used by those who have received adequate information and suitable training.
PUWER training focuses on putting the knowledge and awareness of the regulation into practice. Before working and handling any sort of machine, it is mandatory that the person must be competent to use it. Machine users are expected to understand the equipment and its risks and carry out working PUWER inspections, testing of safety devices etc. Everyone has a legal right to protect themselves, especially in an environment where machines can be a potential hazard to the people around the working environment. PUWER aims to make working life easier for everyone using, and coming in to contact with work equipment. Everyone needs to be trained before partaking their everyday roles: employers and employees, contractors, suppliers, and others.
At times, within the training under the regulation(s), individuals need to be shown how to interpret the rules using common sense in respect to their task and getting the job done.
Machinery Safety & Compliance Services Ltd, offers training courses available and especially bespoke to your business:
- Safe use of Machinery (PUWER)
- System integrators and Complex Assemblies
- Application of Functional Safety to Machinery Systems
- Low Voltage and Control System Panels
REGULATIONS/LEGISLATIONS IN LINK TO PUWER
ACOP, also known as Approved Code of Practice supports and backs up the PUWER regulation. This is directed at employers, duty holders, managers, supervisors and anyone who has responsibility for the safe use of work equipment. It deals with a wide range of hazardous materials and working practices. There can be serious consequences for employers who breach the Regulations.
Three ACOPs supporting PUWER:
- Safe use of work equipment
- Safe use of woodworking machinery
- Safe use of power presses
Although ACOPs are not law, they have special legal status in respect to PUWER.
The Health and Safety at Work Act, otherwise known as HSW 1974, is an act which secures health, safety and welfare of people at work. At the same time, this act controls use of substances which are potential hazards, or anything highly flammable, explosives…etc. Section 2(2) of the HSW 1974 is the one to read. LOLER 1998 regulation works well alongside PUWER. Most companies follow the two side by side. It stands for The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. Where PUWER has broad requirements for all types of work equipment, LOLER has more of a concern on the specific requirements for the examination and testing of lifting equipment. This requires all lifting operations are thoroughly and carefully planned and supervised. This regulation’s aim is to try and prevent risks to people from lifting equipment provided for use at work. All lifting equipment must comply with this regulation.
ACOP - an abbreviation for Approved Code of Practice.
Equipment - The necessary items which are in use for a particular purpose.
Employees - People employed for wages or salary at non-executive level.
Employers - An individual or organisation that employs other individuals.
Hazard - is any source of potential damage, harm or adverse health effects on something or someone.
Risk - is the chance or probability that a person will be harmed or experience an adverse health effect if exposed to a hazard
HSW – It is an abbreviation for the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
LOLER - It is an abbreviation for The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
Machinery – An assembly, fitted with or intended to be fitted with a drive system other than directly applied human or animal effort, consisting of linked parts or components, at least one of which moves, and which are joined together for a specific application (as defined under the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC)
PUWER - an abbreviation for The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Regulation/Legislation - A rule or order having force of law.